One afternoon after a Little League baseball game, Thomas and another boy, Kim Canady, accepted a ride from a stranger to get soft drinks. At a Fairfield drug store Canady went inside to buy the drinks. When he came back outside, the man had driven away with Thomas.
Thomas was found dead five days later by Oneonta police investigating the disappearance of a barber going by the name of George Workman. His body was found wrapped in a blanket and soaked in creosote in a shallow wall next to Workman's shack on Strait Mountain near Highland Lake. Thomas had been shot in the head. Workman turned out to be an alias for convicted felon Michael Anthony Mayola. He was captured in Baltimore, Maryland by FBI agents and extradited to Blount County to stand trial for murder. Contemporary reports differed on whether there was evidence of sexual assault.
An armed crowd of about 2,000 people waited for him outside the Blount County Courthouse, so officials instead transported him to the Etowah County jail to await trial. He pleaded guilty and was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. He has waived his right to parole hearings and remains incarcerated at Staton Correctional Center in Elmore County.
- Victim of Sex Slayer: Little Leaguers Pay Prayerful Respects to Dead Teammate. Mayola Being Held Pending State Warrant (August 8, 1962) Associated Press/The Florence Times
- Geno, Suzy Lowry (March 22, 2003) "Notorious Blount killer waives parole hearing" The Gadsden Times
- Gray, Jeremy (February 3, 2018) "An Alabama child's tragic kidnapping and murder shocked America in 1962." The Birmingham News
- Larry Wayne Thomas at findagrave.com